22235 Frontier Road
Clovis, CA 93611
Dear Mr. Holmes:
This responds to your request for an interpretation whether, if you manufacture a motorcycle helmet for personal use, and ensure that your helmet meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218 Motorcycle helmets, you may certify the helmet. Subject to qualifications explained below, the answer is yes.
NHTSA is authorized under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 Motor Vehicle Safety to issue FMVSSs for new motor vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. Among the FMVSSs is Standard No. 218. In 49 U.S.C. section 30115, a self-certification system is established whereby the vehicle or equipment manufacturer is responsible for exercising "reasonable care" in certifying the product will, if tested as specified in the applicable FMVSSs, meet the safety requirements in the standards applicable to the product. Section 30115 states: "A person may not issue the certificate if, in exercising reasonable care, the person has reason to know the certificate is false or misleading in a material respect."
I have enclosed an information sheet that briefly describes the responsibilities for manufacturers of new vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. Please note the discussion on page two concerning manufacturers' responsibilities to ensure that their products are free of safety-related defects. In addition, as noted on page two, Part 566 of our regulations requires each manufacturer of motor vehicle equipment to which an FMVSS applies (e.g., motorcycle helmets) to submit identifying information to NHTSA, with a description of the items they produce. I have enclosed a copy of Part 566 and of Standard No. 218 for your information.
I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff at this address or by telephone at (202) 366-2992 if you have any further questions or need additional information.
Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel